Friday, March 22, 2013


The Betty Poems

I've been killing myself
for over half a century
with cigarettes--first Lucky Strike
because I was such a tough
motherfucker, and later
Marlboro after my lungs went
all insurrection on my ass.
I've enjoyed
every fucking drag
and the way those skinny tubular
merchants of pleasure
slid so easily,
like an inlaid pool cue
between my varnished index
and middle fingers.
They nursed me;
they comforted me;
they nourished me
when no other human could
or wanted to
through amputations,
a quadruple,
laser eye bombardments,
talk therapy,
encounter groups,
more talk therapy,
dope addiction,
booze binges,
break ups make ups
isolation so monstrous
it made rats weep.
Despite admonitions
from doctors
and dealers
who prophesied
stumps for legs,
and tubes for air.
Past fog horns
moaning for its lost
sailors and past captains
diving into their wrecks.
Past men of the cloth
who knew only morbidities
of the spirit--
Past all
and nothing
I stood fast
and loyal...

Until you...

coming from the north,
from a gentler country
you were no less ruthless
and violent
and vicious
to yourself
and so knew me
well enough to know
that borders were cages
that brokered limits
and limits were cages
that brokered fears.
And after you curled
inside of me
listening to the agony
of breath, a pleading
inarticulateness you said,
(a more beautiful whisper
I've never heard),
you must,
we must stop
smoking so we can buy
(if it can be bought?)
more time
No problem, baby
I replied.

makes it a week.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2013

Sunday, March 10, 2013


The Betty Poems

for putting a spark
into a part of my heart
I'd thought long ago

But it never did ignite.

will be the recipient
of the flame
which she knew
how to fan
and I
had no choice
but to allow her to.

It is not fair,
I know,
and little comfort,
even cruel
to read.

being a good writer
is a poor excuse
for being a prick
of a human being.

Norman Savage,
Greenwich Village, 2013

Saturday, March 9, 2013


The Betty Poems

I am
a creature of habit
usually: up early
with a hearty, oh shit,
to start the day:
brush teeth,
put up coffee,
coffee--a sip, a cigarette--
read the papers,
another coffee,
another cigarette,
then another of both,
get dressed,
gather the weeks dirt:
work, frustration, a little less
hope and throw them
all in a laundry bag
to take them downstairs
where they will be washed
by America's new class
of exploitation and shaky
It's just about 12:00,
high noon. And like Gary Cooper
I just walk
across the street
to a showdown
with the bad guys,
the killers,
only, unlike Coop,
it's a showdown
with myself,
on the page--for
I am the killer
and I am the hunted,
having already made a lifetime
of enemies, I need to wait
for no one.

I do not walk
into a saloon,
but a tea parlor.
I don't ask
for a shot of red-eye,
but for a Carolina Honey--
medium size and hot.
I take it to a table
as far away
from another human
as I can find,
and take out the book
I'm currently using
to defend myself with,
and a notebook.
I read awhile,
then scratch
against the silence;
read some more,
think about the scratches
and the scars
that disappear
for a second and the armies,
now frozen,
somewhere in my head's battlefields,
standing still
and slugging it out.
I'll work it
for as long as I can,
then shop for dinner;
stop and get the momentary
illusion of something clean
in my hands again
and return to my lair....

But not this Saturday.

This Saturday
I had Grace Kelly in my bed
perfumed and primed;
love had found its way
through doors
I no longer had keys for;
her eyes saw
what I tried to bury;
her mouth and fingers and hands and teeth and tongue and breasts and legs and ankles and cunt
found me and allowed me and welcomed me
home and I opened
to her and with her and for her
and as we spent each other
more was deposited and Friday
became Saturday
and I didn't think
(thank the gods)
about laundry
and tea
and food
and composing
because I was composing
and being composed;
because I was being sung
and singing
and it was so beautiful
as to be unreal,
but it was real
(I swear)
and it was real again
the next day
and the day after that
and, at this point,
that is all
I know
for sure.

I must remember
to take
a breath.
And so do you.

Norman Savage
Greenwich Village, 2013

Friday, March 8, 2013


The Betty Poems

We had tumbled
into each other
from different parts
of the globe,
beaten up
and weary
from a life
filled with disappointments
and betrayals--
both self
and flesh
And after six days
at first
of Jimi Hendrix "Fire" sex
it stayed still
while moving on
to the ache
of the burnished cello
longings of Sinatra,
vulnerable, finally
and still hungry,
she told me,
I love you.

at this stage
of my life
I'm looking for an adult.

I'm not that,
I said,
of that
I'm certain.

She laughed
and we tumbled
some more.

Norman Savage,
Greenwich Village, 2013